Well Lit

bedroom decorFound this kinda cool lamp tonight, while I was out and about town hunting for a new canopy to shade us from the heat of the sun on our upper deck; as sadly our old one needs to be put to rest after having sheltered us for many years now.  But of course, I became sidetracked as I steered past Home Sense; drawn in by the heaviness of my wallet as a reminder that I had a gift card from Christmas still waiting to be spent!   After Big D finished building and detailing a stunning little custom table for under our bedroom window at the top of the stairs, and offering me up a private oasis to close the door and write – my very own ‘WO-man cave’,  I knew I needed a new lamp to adorn it.  And at last, I have found the perfect one!

So, in keeping with my utterly random, nonsensical, semi-frequent and relatively consistent ‘non-themed’ April Photo Challenge, number 16 is of my new desk lamp (above)!   I love its monochromatic tone, combined with its tiny pattern and nubby texture. It is a warm ambient light to illuminate the end of the path up the stairs to our room when the hall is dark.   And…. it works so well with the other decorative accents in our compact room.  I love being in this little space!

Advertisements

Behind Closed Doors

There is so much beautiful scenery in Ottawa, and many stunning homes along the Rideau Canal.  On any given day, there is something to appreciate and admire.  When I was a young gal my imagination circled around fashion, house design and decorating, which I guess is where my passion for all things ‘designery’ really began.

My dad was a very talented finishing carpenter, and I remember going to the job site with him on a number of occasions, where he showed me how to install spindles, baseboards, towel racks and toilet paper holders, and it is where I practiced the ‘art of sweeping’, though I will admit, I far prefer the vacuum.  I think he showed me these things for a number of reasons; to encourage my independence, build my self-confidence and to have someone who could do the mundane tasks so he could focus on his custom creations.  I cherish those memories. They nourished my appreciation for design and for the time I was able to spend with him.  Still to this day, when I walk by a house, my imagination wanders… and I wistfully dream of what is behind that closed door.

Fittingly, with these special memories etched in my mind, today’s photo challenge #11 is of a stately front door along the canal, which I was drawn to because of it’s lovely architectural elements melding so cohesively with its surround. Sometimes, it is the smallest details that can make something special, and what we may dismiss as the insignificant moments that can create such warm memories.

Front Door

When the Cows Come Home

I was so excited to find out that the ever talented, fun and engaging Kate Green was transposing her art into delightful home decor accents, and I knew I needed to grab one of her amazing creations.  She has this innate connection with colour and brushstrokes of whimsy that match her magnetic personality.  The parcel came in the mail yesterday, when I was away from the office, and  the moment I walked in the door this morning, I plunked my butt down and feverishly tore open the envelope; with utter delight I shrieked with joy!  My Highland Cow Pillow had arrived, and I knew it was going to look smashing in my mud porch!

Many a moon ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Kate through my dear compadre, and partner-in-crime, Jelly, when I was trotting about town and running my Interior Decorating business.  We shared many a laugh and good conversation together during those days.  It wasn’t until recently that we reconnected when Jelly brought together some wonderful and talented women for a gathering of fun and chuckles; and kindly included me in the mix.  This is when I discovered that Kate had branched out from her painting and cake decorating business (yeah….  so uber talented, is she!) and was now showcasing her remarkable talents in the home decor accent arena.  (YAY for me… because my wall space was pretty much taken, so now I could add some of her colourful fun with pillows – because one can ever ever ever… have too many.)

Feel free to check out her incredible talents on the links above or through her etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/KateGreenDesign  Now, Kate… when you’re ready… I would love a bird nest shower curtain...just sayin’... 😉

Photo Challenge #5 (and counting…)

Highland Cow Pillow .jpg

Brunch /brənCH/

Weekends are divine, and brunch is my favourite time. I am soooo poetic! But, it’s true. I love brunch; I love planning brunch, I love prepping for brunch, I love having friends over for brunch, and I love eating brunch. And Sunday’s are my favourite day for brunch!

brunch collage

Last weekend, we had some of our amazing friends over (well, “technically”, as Mouks would say; all of our friends are amazing – seriously!) and these particular compadres we hadn’t seen in quite a while. Life gets busy, and with kids, activities, work and coordinating schedules, we seem to only ever have time for … you guessed it – BRUNCH!

I love trying out new dishes, and am thankful, that for the most part, everything just kind of magically ‘turns out’. At least in my head it does … and everyone seems to choke it all down with a polite smile and a degree of enthusiasm … so I forge ahead with delight!

depression glass bowl labeledPart of enjoying a tasty meal, is the art of setting the table. I like to putter and fuss, and believe that everything tastes even yummier, with a delightful presentation. For this particular brunch, I pulled out some of my favourite pieces. My Baba’s cherished green depression glass bowl housed a yummy fruit salad (I often speculate on how this beloved piece came into her possession), while my antique yellow and white napkins snuggly engulfed delicious bagels in a sweet little basket.

brunch table settingAnd no table setting is complete without added  height; so one of my many cake plates was layered with a coordinating red damask napkin with additional bagels gently laid on top. A secondary stand held a yummy homemade apple coffee cake, and a cute antique glass sugar pot with a lid, held some delectably delicious whipped creamcheese. I used a painted ceramic egg cup to host the capers and put it on a small rectangular glass plate with sliced red onions. To complete the look, everyone had a special ‘spreader’ at their place setting, lime rimmed crystal goblets for water, and red antique low stemmed juice glasses. I don’t segregate kids dishes from adult dishes. (I’m all about equal opportunity for breakage). Once Mouks hit the age of 3, we pretty much threw out the plastic cups and plates, and he went right to glassware and ceramic dishes. I think it makes everyone feel special, and particularly for nice occasions. In my head, I believe it instills a sense of confidence and the opportunity to act more grown up and “M” for mature. (I use this video game analogy to bribe Mouks into acting more mature, citing that he can start getting “M” rated games, when he can act like an older guy – hey! … whatever works – we gotta speak their lingo)! My mom (Bobs) did this whole dish deal for us as well … though I know I am certainly not scientific proof that it instills maturity, because I’m still a bit of a goofball AND a bull in a china shop!; but it sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?! And, in fairness to any youngen who’s eaten in Smackiland, they have not yet broken a dish or glass. Now, that’s impressive!

tulips in milk jugI did buy some lovely fresh tulips and put them in a butter coloured metal milk jug to coordinate with my vintage inspired creamy yellow dishes, meticulously placed on a faded red floral tablecloth reminiscent of a country garden. And… ahhhhhh… my ‘pre-spring’ brunch table was set!

I like to serve a menu with a variety of items everyone will enjoy. Here is a list of my latest offerings:

Bevvies:

  • Big D’s ‘Stand-Up’ Lattes. The name says it all… a load of rich, luxurious caffeine, smothered in frothy goodness, and so thick your spoon will stand up.
  • Juice d’orange.
  • San Pellagrino, with fresh lime wedges.

Cold Delights:

  • Flavourful fruit salad, consisting of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple and blueberries. Topped with maple infused whipped cream. Mmmm…. Mmmm… who doesn’t love just a little touch of maple syrup goodness?
  • Kettleman’s bagels (only THE best bagels in all of Ottawa); poppyseed, sesame and ‘everything’ selections.
  • Deli toppings: prosciutto ham (a.k.a. Moukie’s ‘special ham’), smoked salmon, with ultra thinly sliced red onions and capers.
  • Assorted cheese plate: stinky Rouy cheese, double cream Brie, and garlic Boursin, garnished with grape clusters and strawberries.
  • Whipped cream cheese. I find spreadable creamcheese, whipped with my hand blender makes it creamier for spreading with not a lot of fuss.
  • Delish berry jam.
  • Pads of butter.
  • Homemade apple coffee cake.  Stay tuned for this uber awesome recipe!

Warm Goodness:

  • M-mm-mmm maple sausages…. yummmm… sausages! Easy to throw in the oven on a cookie sheet, and voila!
  • Egg nests! Yeah… you heard me.. but these are different, there are no birds. My latest experiment…. I found a little recipe online, so gave it a whirl! Here’s the Smack-Attack version:

eggs in phyllo recipe

Please call ahead to book your Brunch reservation in Smackiland!

Now taking appointments….

Friday(s)

TGIF blog banner2

I have always wished that every day could feel like Friday.  AhhhhhFridays.  A day, where you wake up with optimism; a keen new perspective on the day ahead and inner reflection on the week that is ending.  I’m deep like that.  Friday’s fly by quickly (making the rest of the week seem even longer!), people aren’t as serious (they’re sometimes even dog-gone pleasant!), and you know with a degree of certainty that you won’t have to hit the dreaded ‘snooze’ button five times on Saturday morning.  Oh, glorious Saturday!  You carry a sense of anticipation throughout the day for the never-ending possibility of what Friday night’s activities may entail; where you can do as little or as much as you would like.  Well, I can; everyone else must adhere to my delegated task list!

Mouks loves Friday’s because school’s out for the weekend, and it’s ‘Pizza Day’, where he can gorge himself with his favourite food.   (Because, seriously, what 10-year-old boy does not love a little ‘ZZA?!)   He is excited for a full night of hangin’ out, and staying up late – and he literally radiates with anticipation for his first buddy to arrive for what will be an ENTIRE marathon weekend of Lego and Wii.  Whereas I am carefully devising my ‘mental preparedness plan’, which includes when, where and how long, to nap.

When I asked the Big D, why Friday is his favourite day he replied with his usual philosophical wisdom (and witty chuckle; the one where he laughs at his own joke before he tells it),  “‘Cause it’s Friday”.  Ahhh yes…. profound.  What’s not to love?! 

Friday’s are Hopeful.  Optimistic.  Joyful.  And now, every day is Friday, in Smackiland.Friday for Blog

Exactly 363 days after our beloved Snor’eo passed away, many months of mourning and oceans full of tears later, we welcomed a new pooch in the ville to share all of our pent up puppy love with.  No shortage of a supply in our abode!

And, very fittingly, her name, is FRIDAY. (T.G.I.F!)

And now, every day, we are greeted as though we are the most awesome’est pack in the whole animal kingdom, with full body tail wags and slobbery kisses.

Friday’s Favourite Pastimes:  Hunting for duck stuffies, snorking the stuffing out of ducks stuffies, chewing rawhides (and duck stuffies), tearing apart boxes (ohhhh, and did I mention, duck stuffies?), begging for food, running, playing, hugging, sleeping, cuddling.  (And hogging the bed).

Date of Birth:  Some time mid-July 2012.  Six months and still growing.

Breed:  Catahoula / Mountain Cur Mix.  (Yup…. Gotta love ‘google’; apparently, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is the official dog for the State of Louisiana!)  – We lovingly call her our little Catahooligan! 

Place of Birth: Ashland, Kentucky (American born; Just like the Big D!)

Originally Rescued by:  AARF, Ashland Animal Rescue Fund in Kentucky
Ottawa Rescue AgencyCatahoula Rescue Inc. (Ontario) Ottawa

Heartfelt thanks and gratitude to:Friday, blog puppy pic

  • Those who first rescued this sweet little ‘pupper-do’.
  • Those who pulled her from the shelter and saw her potential.
  • Those who housed her, fed her, cared for her and gave her medical attention before she even made the trek to the Great White North.
  • Those who transported her and nurtured her during what was surely a very long journey.
  • Those who pulled the strings behind the scenes in Canada to bring her here knowing that eventually she would find her ‘pack’, and for continuing to  save the lives of countless other furry friends.  Gloria Baggs, the rumours are true; you are amazing!
  • Those who donated funds, food, supplies, time, effort into helping our little Friday, and all of her puppy pals.
  • Those who adopted from a rescue agency opening up a space for her to be saved.
  • Those who foster these sweet dogs with comfort, understanding and unconditional love, until they find their new families.  Trish McQuhae you TOTALLY rock!  And Diesel, you giant great dane puddy-tat, we have photo evidence of some Friday cuddles!
  • To all those countless others who understand that a rescued dog may actually be the one rescuing you.
  • And to our beloved dog Oreo… thank you for opening our hearts to how truly amazing life can be, when a ‘pupper-do’ becomes part of your family.

ben and friday blog polaroid

Sized up

Okay… so I’m irked. I mean totally ticked, agitated and pretty much, more than unimpressed. That is my way of trying to edit my language to keep it clean for my readers; okay, okay… I mean for my mom. Yesterday, a colleague at work showed me the YouTube video of the WKBT Reporter, Jennifer Livingston (who by the way has a very famous brother from the TV show, “The Office”; and, YES… we were YouTube’ing during work time, but that’s okay, ’cause the big boss watched it too), who received a degrading email from some guy (and by that I mean ‘knob’) about her weight. Like it’s any of his business what the size of her waistline is. I’ve read a load of the articles out there on it (’cause there’s about a million of them, as it’s pretty much plastered all over the internet). And I guess I’m gonna re-hash some of the same ca-ca that’s flying around out there:

Some dough-head writes this Wisconsin news anchor an email that in a nutshell, calls her fat and that he hopes she doesn’t consider herself a role model for young girls. Because, “ohhhh, yes, of course the size of someone’s ass determines whether you can be a role model”. Seriously? I guess a woman’s intellect, compassion and generous spirit would have nothing to do with it… at all? What delusional world does this guy live in? It appears from the media reports that he is a fitness fanatic and, based on his trade, would be deemed as highly educated, tho through his actions, he appears to have some kind of ‘holier-than-thou’ complex. My assumption, is that’s he’s been rejected by women for being so arrogant (I would say that’s probably a safe bet), which masks his insecurities (we all have them), that he potentially (a little butt covering here) lives in a love-less life and obsesses about exercise because it’s the only way he can find any real pleasure (a guess, but plausible). The fact that he even gives a rat’s behind what a television news anchor looks like is beyond creepy. (Like c-r-e-e-p-y kinda creepy). Oooooh.. and get this…. he’s now saying that he’s trying to encourage her to lose weight and wants to help her. HA! Okay… need I say more? I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I can smell a l-o-s-e-r a million miles away!

I do wonder a teeny smidge, in the back of my mind, if he would’ve written this same email to a male news anchor? I would take a stab in the dark that he probably wouldn’t. No offence to any of you fellas out there; consider yourself lucky he’s neglected you. AND… by the way, no where have I read yet, how attractive she really is. And she is. Beautiful. Very much so. And articulate. And darn smart. Who cares what size she is. All I’ve read is that she’s fat. Though, I do have a preference for the term ‘chubby chick’, personally. And… I have a ‘zero tolerance policy’ for people who can’t see internal and external beauty beyond someone’s physical size. We all come in different packages. How amazing is that?

Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

So, October is Anti-Bullying month… and, she’s fighting back, while teaching girls that they can stand up for themselves. “Girl power!” Yes, we could take over the world if we wanted to. One of Jennifer Livingston’s quotes was “Do not let self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many”. I suppose that if I sent him a copy of my blog, maybe he’d think I was a bully for calling him a knob … hmmmm… food for thought. (Mmmmm…. double chocolate hot fudge sundae; Kidding! Gotch’ya!). I guess my rant is really directed in general solidarity. Chubby chicks. We’re everywhere. Get used to it buddy.

One of my favourite Dove ads … she is stunningly beautiful.

One of the most amazing marketing campaigns I think I’ve seen is the “Dove – Campaign for Real Beauty”, which targets real women. All women. All inclusive. I find it inspiring.

And, here’s my appropriate quote for today:

“It’s not the size of our butts that matter…. it’s the size of our hearts”. – Smacki

Me and Mary Jane

Today I met with my friend, Mary Jane.  I haven’t seen her in a really long time.  It was quite nice.  She is quite practical.  Cute in a mature kind of way.  A little flirty, and fun.  Today she made me feel great!!!  I felt taller, and slimmer and  it made me wonder why I don’t hang out with her more often.  She is quite the fashion icon, and everyone seems to know her.  In fairness, I have to be in the mood to chill with her, and feel a bit self-conscious unless I am wearing just the right ensemble with some fab accessories.  I guess it’s been about a year since we’ve hung out, and today we did a fair amount of walking around.  We tend to see each other mostly in the fall, when we are better able to find the time to spend together; particularly when the weather cools and the autumn leaves start to fall.  And then, we’re practically inseparable until  late spring.  I suppose you could classify her as a seasonal friend.  She was locked in my shoe cabinet until today, when I broke her out of retirement.

Yes, I, like many others, have a few Mary Janes stashed away.  And, I am quite fond of them all.  I always wondered how the name of these utterly fabulous shoes came to be, and here’s the scoop:

Many a moon ago, in 1902, (yeah…. that was a l-o-n-g time ago), there was a comic strip called ‘Buster Brown’.   He looks kind of girly in the comic above, but I guess for the time, that’s what all the young whipper snappers were wearing!  The story goes that Mary Jane was Buster Brown’s sweetheart/girlfriend/babe/hot tamale (coincidentally the same name as the creator’s daughter).  Apparently, a couple of years later, Richard Felton Outcault, licensed the use of his characters to a load of companies to advertise their wares.  The Brown Shoe Company, being one of the most famous of course.  So, both, Buster Browns and Mary-Janes gained in popularity, mostly due to some live skit that travelled across the country, where actors were hired and … yada…yada…yada – kind of interesting from a marketing point of view; very ingenious for the day.   I’m sure I must’ve had a pair of Mary Janes as a young girl (or that would’ve just been wrong, on many levels), but for some reason I have a very vivid memory of little Kevin Horner from elementary school, in his adorable lace up buster brown shoes.  Could the impact of his impressionable soles become the stepping stone for my shoe obsession?

These totally cute brown Mary-Janes I wore today, were must-haves for £5 when my Sistah and I were perusing through a ‘car boot’ sale in England a couple of summers ago.

“The future’s got a million roads for you to choose, But you’ll walk a little taller in some high heel shoes” – Hairspray
Ain’t that the truth!